I have not been to Hidden Bench before this was my first time. Here are some mini reviews of the wines we tasted. None of these wines are in the LCBO.
2008 ROMAN’S BLOCK RIESLING $34
This wine is pale in color with some honey suckle sweetness coming through on the nose. On the mid pallet there is some sweetness there to match the nose and then on the finish the wine has some tartness to finish it up. The finish is medium in length and nice and dry. This is a pretty good Riesling. I would give it an 88 but to be honest, for the price I can think of better wines.
Wimenaker’s Comments (from their web site)
A brilliant appearance with pale yellow straw colour. Classic and intense Riesling aromatics with hints of yellow grapefruit, lime, honey and a flinty minerality. The palate is vibrant and shows great depth of flavours. This concentrated wine has a core of yellow pomello with candied citrus and lime. An austere wine that shows great finesse, power, beautiful balance and an extraordinary length. These are trademark characteristics of the Rosomel Vineyard, specifically Roman’s Block terroir.
2007 FELSECK CHARDONNAY $38
This wine is golden in color with a varietal California style chard on the nose. On the mid pallet are some lovely California style chard flavors to match the nose. Some nice butter and complexity coming through. The finish is medium in length with alcohol and oak well under control. This is a beautiful wine, not over baked as some can be, probably one of the better Chards I have had from Niagara but I have to say the price is really high for this one. Again I would have to say you can do much better for this kind of money.
Wine makers notes (from their website)
Lively golden pale straw colour. The very concentrated nose shows aromas of ripe peach, caramelized apple, vanilla and clove spice. The powerful and rich palate is showing beautiful concentration of citrus and peach flavours with a well-integrated smokiness. The 2007 Felseck Chardonnay has great intensity and length and is best enjoyed with rich foods.
2007 LA BRUNANTE $85
This wine is very dark in color with loads of black fruits coming through. This wine is a blend of Merlot, Cab Sauv, Malbec and Cab franc so it is a heavily blended wine. On the mid pallet this is a big bold wine with loads of complexity in the mouth. Layers of flavors ripple through the mouth. Lots of black berries. The wine has a lovely dry finish that lingers nicely. A very well made wine. 89-90. This is a Bordeaux stlye wine and they have done it very well, but did you see the price? No that was not a typo. Wow!
Wine makers notes (from their web site) The colour is deep, opaque purple with hints of violet. An expressive, powerful and elegant nose with rich, ripe dark fruits layered in classic Beamsville Bench minerality. Super-fine luscious tannins frame the palette which expresses purity of black and blueberries. Extremely concentrated, the wine gives way to a velvety texture with a finish that extends into minutes. This wine is meant for mid to long-term aging.
2008 ESTATE PINOT NOIR $38
This wine is ruby in color with a varietal pinot noir nose with rustic notes coming through. On the mid pallet the wine is exactly what one would expect, some rustic flavors, some earthy notes, and none of none of less attractive barnyard characteristics that can plague some pinots. The wine is nice and dry on the medium finish with some nice tannins present. This wine is bold and concentrated, again a VERY well made wine, again one of the better ones in Niagara. I would give this one a solid 90.
I was really impressed with the quality of wines Hidden Bench are making. If price was seriously not an issue for me, I would definitely enjoy any of these. The reality, or my reality anyway, is price is an issue. I highly recommend you stop by Hidden Bench if for no other reason to try some of the best wines coming out of Niagara! In spite of the price I found the staff to be pleasant, approachable and not in the least bit pretentious (nothing like 30 Bench, my least favorite winery in Niagara). Staff can make all the difference. They also had on display that they have installed 105 solar panels and throughout the year are power neutral returning power back to the grid for most of the year. Nice!